Iraq Sabbath Attacks Kill Dozens

Iraqi police secure the site as a truck burns following an attack in western Baghdad, Sept. 16, 2005. An U.S. convoy came under small arms fire attack on the highway in western part of the capital. AP

A suicide car bomber struck as worshippers were leaving a Shiite mosque in a northern Iraqi town Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, killing at least 12 people. Militants killed 12 other people across the country as the Sunni-dominated insurgency pressed its "all-out war" to destabilize the country.

The 24 deaths came after in which nearly 200 people were killed in bombings, mostly in Baghdad. More than 600 have been wounded in the stunning rampage by insurgents, including al Qaeda in Iraq.

The bombing at the Hussainiyat al-Rasoul Mosque in Tuz Khormato, 130 miles north of Baghdad, killed 12 people and wounded 21, said police Col. Sarhat Qader.

Police subsequently captured a young man wearing a suicide bomb belt and heading toward a second mosque in Tuz Khormato. Authorities said the man identified himself as Muhammed Ali, a Saudi citizen.

In other violence, gunmen opened fire on day laborers in the capital, killing three and wounding a dozen.

"We are innocent people ... Those criminals and terrorists came and did this to us," said Salah Aziz Ali, one of the wounded.

On Thursday, in three attacks targeting Iraqi police. A day earlier, at least 167 people were killed and 570 wounded in more than a dozen bombings in Baghdad. The largest single toll resulted from a suicide bombing against day laborers in the largely Shiite Kazimiyah neighborhood in north Baghdad.

The U.S. military continued attacking militant strongholds in western Iraq along the Syrian border, where militants hold many towns and villages along the Euphrates River as it flows southeastward.

Al Qaeda in Iraq said the brutal bombings in Baghdad were reprisals for the joint Iraqi-U.S. operation that pushed insurgents out of their stronghold in Tal Afar, also near the Syrian border in Iraq's far north.

In other developments:

  • In the capital's Shiite district of Sadr City, gunmen assassinated Sheik Fadil al-Lami, the cleric at Imam Ali mosque, as he waited to fill up his car, said police Lt. Col. Shakir Wadi. Wadi said police also discovered the bodies of three people in the district, one an Iraqi soldier.

  • U.S. and Iraqi troops in Ramadi, an insurgent stronghold 70 miles west of Baghdad, came under mortar attack Thursday morning as armed militants roamed the streets, police Capt. Nasir Alusi said.

  • The U.S. military announced Friday that a Marine had been killed near the town of Ramadi, the volatile capital of Anbar Province that stretches west from Baghdad to the Syrian, Jordanian and Saudi borders.

  • A car bomb also detonated near an Iraqi police patrol in the town of Haswa, near Baghdad, killing three officers and wounding four, police Capt. Muthana Khalid said.

  • And in the Iskandariya district, 30 miles south of Baghdad, gunmen broke into the house of the local mayor and shot him dead, after first killing his four bodyguards, police Capt. Muthans Khalid said.

  • Police found the bodies of seven unidentified men in various parts of the capital. All had their hands tied and were blindfolded.

    • Joel Roberts

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